January 5, 2010

9 ways to get me to follow you on Twitter

I love Twitter. In Sweden Jaiku used to be king, but these days there is no stopping the juggernaut and I not only have interesting conversations with followers and friends on Twitter, I also negotiate deals (or start to at least), sell the occasional gadget lying around, and make valuable connections.

In short, Twitter is a powerful tool for me. You should follow me, obviously.

But how can you get me to follow you? It is in fact quite easy.

  1. Talk to me. Twitter is all about conversation, so @tdhedengren and speak to me about matters big and small.
  2. Retweet responsibly. Littering your tweets with RTs that everyone’s already seen doesn’t interest me. Just RT the best of the best, leave the rest.
  3. Add you own voice. Quoting people is all well and good, but you need to add your own voice and opinion to be interesting to me.
  4. Use #hashtags. Seriously, they’re great when trying to keep up with a niche topic.
  5. Don’t feed too much. Using services like Twitterfeed is a great way to get your latest updates to Twitter, but when automatic updates takes the upper hand I won’t be following you. That’s what RSS is for.
  6. In fact, beware of automatic tweets. I obviously like Disqus, but auto-tweeting something you commented on a story on a blog somewhere rarely interests me. If it is so important, tweet it manually instead.
  7. Don’t spam me. I don’t want to play Mafia Wars, so don’t DM me about it. Neither will you get anything else than a block if you @tdhedengren with links to Britney Spears porn. Go figure.
  8. Be helpful. This one never gets old. By helping others, no matter where you do it online, you’ll bound to get more recognition. The difference with Twitter is that you can grade it by looking at how many followers you have.
  9. Add original value. Don’t just join conversations, start your own!

You’ll note that I didn’t mention talking about your cat, what you had for breakfast, if you need a shower, and so on. That’s because it might in fact be interesting pieces of information about you, so there is room for the hyperpersonal on Twitter in my opinion. Obviously it’s a balance, and you need to keep in mind what you’re trying to achieve with your twittering, but still. I’m not one of those who unfollows anyone who posts personal tweets, they can be a good thing.

Feels overwhelming? Don’t worry about it, not everyone needs to follow you just because you follow them, nor do you need to make an effort to get more followers just because. After all, unless someone pays you a big wad of cash, you’re most likely tweeting for you just as much as your readers. That means that you need to keep things interesting, just like with traditional blogging, and hence you shouldn’t listen too much to rules and How To lists.

It’s as simple as that.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.